Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Movie Notes: CHUD (1984)

1. The source of a running joke on the Simpsons, C.H.U.D. stands for "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller".

2. If you were to base your judgment on 1980s exploitation movies, you'd think that NYC is a semi-apocalyptic nightmare of crime, prostitution, drugs, and violence. CHUD is no exception to this rule.

3. It's interesting how prevalent the homeless are in this film. You see them quite often in 1980s American films, although rarely in 1970s films, or films after the 1980s. This suggests that they were a big part of the mental landscape in the Reagan era, which is how I remember it.

4. Also the CHUDs are mutants who have been created by toxic waste- another huge obsession in the 1980s. (same with Acid Rain) Maybe we'll get global warming monsters in future films.

5. The acting is better than I expected in this movie. Daniel Stern is quite good and John Goodman has a nice cameo role. John Heard is decent. Of course, some of the lines are silly, so that might skew my take on the acting.

6. I like that the two homeless buddies who live underground are named Victor and Hugo. It's a witty reference and I like that the movie, for as ridiculous as it is, never goes for any over-the-top jokes. It's played straight, unlike the abyssmal sequel CHUD II: Bud the CHUD.

7. The makeup effects are the real highlight though. The craftsmanship of those John Caglione monsters is incredible, and I was amazed at how realistic the severed head that Ed French created was. Even in close-ups, that thing looks real. All of this would be done with computers now, and we'd have lost the artistry of those effects. When you see the amount of work that went into traditional effects- particuarly matte paintings and prosthetic effects, it's just unbelievable.

No comments: